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Arizona is one of just three states that don’t have an explicit ban on texting while driving, but that didn’t stop Tempe from acting unilaterally and putting the kibosh on the practice. In February, the Tempe City Council voted unanimously to make it the first city in the East Valley to ban drivers from using a cellphone while driving, whether the user is texting, talking, finding directions or taking a picture of the dog in the car in front of them. Tempe already had a ban on distracted driving, but it only prohibited talking or texting on the phone if police could prove that the user posed a risk to themselves or others – and the user first had to be pulled over for something else. Now it’s a primary offense. The exceptions: if the driver is using a hands-free device, like talking through Bluetooth; is stopped at a light; or is parked on the side of the road. Tempe joins the ranks of six Valley cities with bans on using phones while driving: El Mirage, Fountain Hills, Glendale, Phoenix, Surprise and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. With so many cities in the state jumping on board, an eventual statewide ban on motorized texting seems a fait accompli.

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